Labour Research October 2004

Features: Congress

TUC plans learning academy

The TUC's plans for a Union Academy, aimed at transforming access to learning for people at work, were supported by education and skills secretary Charles Clarke in his speech to Congress last month.

The Union Academy will be set up, owned and run by unions and will offer learning where and how workers want it through commissioned courses from colleges, universities and other providers.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said it would provide "a major boost to the quantity, quality and coherence of the training that unions offer. By building on the grassroots work of union learning representatives, the Union Academy will deliver the training that employers and workers need."

The TUC general council launched a consultation document, The Union Academy, a new step forward, at Congress. It says that: "Improving the nation's skills base is crucial in assisting working people to acquire the professional, technical and communication skills that make high performance workplaces a reality. At present, employers lose an estimated £10 billion every year through poor basic skills in the workforce."

Charles Clarke welcomed the plans saying the Academy would be "a major contribution to the work that we have to do to tackle the massive skills deficit in the country."

Copies of The Union Academy, a new step forward can be downloaded from www.